Fiction Friday

So, that was last Friday. I had great plans for the evening — to draw myself a bath and chill for a bit with my own new toys that arrive in discreet boxes— so I tried my best to put the spawn to bed a little earlier. Naturally, that backfired.

We had to go through the full extended routine: “Mom, I want to watch another cartoon”; “Mom, I’m a dinosaur, dinosaurs don’t brush their teeth”; “Mom, read me a story”, “Mom, I want water”; “No, not the puppy, I want to sleep with the pink elephant!”; “Mom, why birds don’t…

Fiction Friday

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, John William Waterhouse, 1891.

She goes through the dusty boxes and broken furniture of the attic, settles on a stack of shabby leather suitcases under a tiny window, and fishes a pack of cigarettes and a lighter out of her bra. Her white dress is stained and dirty from a long stair climb, and the choir of concerned voices of the wedding guests is starting to rise from the hall reaching out for her like a cloud of angry bees. She wishes she’d care.

She lights up a cigarette and takes a long drag, filling a sudden hole in her chest with bitter smoke.

Following the fashion world descending from celebrity castles to TikTok videos, as a bystander

For me, it starts within the deep snows of the Ural region of Russia. My university classmates repost translations of luxury runway shows, show off statement bags and LV checkered patterns. I move through the city wearing a second-hand fur coat, huge wool boots, and up to five layers of pants. It was hard to figure out which one of us looks more ridiculous.

Fashion enters my world as someone’s desperate dreams, so far from my everyday reality that I couldn’t even feel anything about them. “You know what’s luxury” — they whisper — “it’s these Prada shoes, that Birkin…

hands-on exploration of the forms of emptiness in urban life

Publish something every day, better trice. Hustle. Refresh the newsfeed. Read the news. Keep up. Network. Sell. Refresh. Watch. Buy. Share. For a Westerner of the twenty-first century, nothing is more unsettling than an empty space, than a piece of time and space not chock-full of content — be it a pause in a conversation, a waiting line, or an idea of death.

But the masters of the past civilizations had a different approach to the void.

The ancient masters had a way to play with the void instead of denying its right for existence; they would caress her as…

Doodling mine

Once, I’ve found a pupa of a butterfly. Actually, it was my mom—the cocoon fell from a branch of blackcurrant where she was collecting the berries, and she brought it to me, without taking her heavy gardening gloves off. It was the middle of September, the time of falling leaves and stupid wool clothes, always two sizes wrong and smelling like dust in the attic.

The pupa was brown, slightly iridescent, delightfully heavy. Her bottom half could move, bending under the tiny plates — she would wiggle it from side to side if you’d poke her with a finger, like…

Is it you, or is it me?

Photo by Mikita Yo on Unsplash, fragment

Some days, I think you are not enough for me. Some days, I think you are way too much.

Sure, you are not New York, or London, or any of these progressive, edgy, sci-fi megacities from the movies. You are not who I imagined being with. You know that. I complain a lot.

You are too loud, too extravert: your trams are filled with people shouting juicy personal details in their phones, looped conversations heating up the air; your streets get clogged whenever someone meets their friend — or an enemy — and they won’t move till they’ve said it…

It’s okay to change the climate

Once upon a time — approximately 2.4 billion years ago — when the Earth was young, steamy (with volcano eruptions) and intoxicating (with over 70% of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere), there lived a bacteria called cyanobacteria.

Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

She floated in a world ocean surrounded by her merry single-celled cousins, busy transforming water and nitrogen into food through slow, anoxygenic photosynthesis, never wishing for anything else. But she felt she was different. That she could change the world.

According to scientists, cyanobacteria was responsible for the Great Oxidation Event, (dubbed Great Oxidation Catastrophe), which completely changed the Earth's atmosphere, inverted its…

Predicting a new genre for the coming decade

Photo by stefano stacchini on Unsplash

According to Aristotle’s “Poetics”, the role of theatre in human life was to drag the recipient through the catastrophe in order to help them achieve catharsis — a state of total purification of all emotions.

Aristotle was an ancient philosopher whose ideas served as a stepping stone for modern cinema and storytelling. Aristotle was also a wealthy slave owner sipping lemonade in a shade of olive trees on his property — in the exact center of a civilization where nothing bad could ever happen to you unless you specifically ask for it.

The dude was chill.

We are not chill.

The purpose of drama

When you find yourself up at night discussing the meaning of life, again.

In Philipp Pullman’s vision of the afterlife, all human souls go to the underworld: a chilly place guarded by mean harpies who see every malicious twist within each soul, love to torture people, and are sensitive to lies. Those mistresses of the underworld have only one weakness: they have no idea of what being alive is like. So if you tell a truthful, honest, felt-through story of your life up here, they will listen to you, wide-eyed, and then they will let you go.

And do you know whose stories these immortal beasts love to listen most? Italian grandmas.


trigger warning: period blood

It’s a little stone beach hidden in the cliffs on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea, and the second we’ve found it, we changed to our bathing suits behind a rock and jumped in the waves. Now we’re catching our breath on a flat stone, my best classmate and I. I’ve almost forgotten I’m on the first day of my period — and the blood starts flowing, unrestricted, mixing with seawater, running down the smooth edges of the stone. I watch it, mesmerized.

Look, you’re getting dirty, my friend says to me. Uh-huh, I reply, reaching for my phone. You…

Luna Lovecroft

Stories from another hemisphere, written under a stripper pen name and in a second language. Because God forbid we make things easier for us.

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